Open for Business

Congressman Richard Hudson, center with white shirt, led a panel discussion on business and the economy this week at Red Hill Brewing in Concord. Erin Kidd/Independent Tribune

Today’s Friday Five is going to be mostly me ranting. I am already tired of the Washington politics and it will get worse as we get into the presidential election next year. I’m sick of hearing about devilish Dan Bishop and greedy Dan McCready and for most of us, they’re not in our district.

#1

“Them birds up in Washington.” My grandfather, Hannibal Beard Radford, would start off many a sentence with that exclamation. “Them birds” was not a flattering term. It was usually something Papaw Radford was mad about.

“Them birds” from Washington held a panel discussion in Concord this week. Congressman Richard Hudson from Concord invited a few local business people to talk about the economy, primarily how President Trump’s policies have helped business - nothing wrong with that. The people he invited were all successful and perfectly capable of telling their story and the story of the current good economy.

Here are the people on the panel: Bradley Cohen, Realtor; Keith Wayne, Wayne Brothers Companies; Joe Horton, Piedmont Asphalt Paving Company;  DeAnna Ford, DeAnna Ford, CPA;  Kayleigh McEnany,  Press secretary for Donald J. Trump for President; Anita Brown, Cabarrus County GOP Vice Chairman; Craig Berry, State Farm; Rob Stevenson, Concord’s Best Dressed Kids; and Justin Reeder, The Bead Lady and Union Street Market.

Here’s where I have a problem. They were told what they should say. Even Hudson was told what he should say. An email went out from Samantha Cotton, regional communications director for Donald J. Trump for President, outlining what they should say. Here are a couple of snippets (the full set of instructions is on-line):

“Open for Business” Tour – General Brief/Talking Points

IDEAL HEADLINE: North Carolina businesses tout Trump economy 

IDEAL QUOTE FROM CONGRESSMAN HUDSON: “President Trump has delivered on his promises to help North Carolina workers and jumpstart our economy. His work has helped create new jobs, raise worker wages, and cut taxes across the board. These businesses are proof that President Trump’s economic policies aren’t just talking points – they’re real life success stories. Thanks to President Trump, North Carolina is ‘Open for Business.’”

IDEAL QUOTE FROM BUSINESS PARTICIPANTS: “At [insert business name], we’re seeing real impact thanks to President Trump’s pro-growth policies. We’ve been able to [insert personal business story, for example:] hire more workers, expand our facilities, invest back into employees – directly helping workers across North Carolina.”

TIMELINE/ FLOW OF EVENT:

  • 3:35: Kayleigh McEnany to welcome everyone, give overview of President Trump’s economic policies on a national level. Turn it over to Congressman Hudson.
  • 3:40: Congressman Hudson gives an overview of congressional work with President Trump and how GOP polices have impacted North Carolina; turn it over to  our host of Red Hill Brewing Company.
  • 3:45: Host to talk about how economic climate has benefited Red Hill Brewing Company– for example: hire new employees? Give bonuses? Raise wages? Expand warehouse? Pension/401 investment? Workforce development program?
  • 3:50: Host to turn over to next participant, etc, etc. Jump in with discussion questions.
  • 4:15: Wrap up discussion, begin short tour of facility (if available)
  • 4:30: Open to Q&A with press in attendance
  • 4:35: Event Concludes 

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: 

  • Have any of you benefited from less regulations?
  • Have you seen growth in your business since POTUS took office? 
  • Did the GOP tax cuts benefit your company? 
  • Did you reinvest that money into your company and/or employees? 
  • Do you think the economy is better off today than it was before the President took office?
  • How many people do you employ? 

KAYLEIGH McENANY TALKING POINTS:

President Trump’s policies have put the American economy into high gear.

  • Since President Trump was elected over 6 million jobs have been created.
  • Over 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since the president was elected.
  • More than one million jobs have been created in 2019 alone.
  • The GDP for the first quarter of 2019 was 3.1%.

Highlights of July’s jobs report:

  • The U.S. added 164,000 jobs in July.
  • 16,000 new manufacturing jobs were added.
  • The unemployment rate held at a near generational low – 3.7%.
  • Unemployment among African American, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and women remains at near-record lows.
  • 370,000 people reentered the labor market in July.
  • Wage growth has now topped 3% for an entire year.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit record highs more than 80 times under President Trump, including closing higher than 26,000 points for the first time in its history.
  • Under President Trump’s leadership, Congress passed historic tax cuts and relief for hard-working Americans. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the first major tax reform signed in 30 years. 
    • As a result of the historic tax cuts, nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones were created in all 50 states, DC, and 5 territories. Opportunity Zones will spur $100 billion in private capital investment and impact nearly 35 million Americans.
    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the Child Tax Credit by 100% keeping more money in the pockets of hardworking mothers.
    • Economic confidence rebounded to record highs under President Trump because his pro-growth policies have and continue to put American workers and businesses first.
    • President Trump has rolled back unnecessary job-killing regulations at a record clip which has saved billions and unleashed massive economic growth.

CONGRESSMAN HUDSON TALKING POINTS:

  • Welcome and thank you all for being here.
  • We’re here today to listen to real-life success stories of President Trump’s economic policies.
  • President Trump has delivered on his promises to help North Carolina workers and jumpstart our economy.
  • Democrats continue to tour the country and come to North Carolina spewing falsehoods about the economy, but they are ignoring the facts. 
  • If they want to run on the economy, be our guest. Because you can’t deny the results.
  • President Trump has created new jobs, helped raise worker wages, and cut taxes across the board.
  • President Trump’s policies are creating jobs in North Carolina
  • North Carolina has added over 212,000 jobs under President Trump, including over 9,000 manufacturing jobs.
  • North Carolina’s unemployment has fallen from 5.1 percent to 4.2 percent under this President.
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act generated over 6,500 jobs in North Carolina last year and provided an average tax cut of $1,328.
  • As I travel across my district and meet new business owners, I hear the same thing over and over – business owners are better off now than they were before President Trump was elected.
  • Small business confidence is up, manufacturing confidence is up, jobs are being created across the board – all of this means good news for the Charlotte region. 
  • Yet, we don’t hear about these numbers often enough and sometimes it’s difficult to put real-life examples onto these numbers.
  • Not only this, President Trump has heavily focused on getting rid of burdensome regulations and cutting government red-tape that can inhibit private sector growth and innovation.
  • President Trump has rolled back unnecessary job-killing regulations beyond expectations - issuing 22 deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action.
  • This is also helping to create jobs.
  • But these businesses are proof that President Trump’s economic policies aren’t just talking points – they’re real life success stories.
  • President Trump’s economic policies are directly helping North Carolina families, businesses and workers.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats are promising to destroy jobs by eliminating all fossil fuels.
  • They are also campaigning on open borders and free health care for illegal immigrants
  • The contrast in 2020 couldn’t be clearer.
  • Democrats are running on destroying jobs, while President jobs is working to ensure North Carolina remains ‘Open for Business.’
  • Now, I would like to turn it over to our host to tell us more about the economic environment they have seen over the last couple of years and what that has meant for their business.

PARTICIPANT TALKING POINTS:

  • (NOTE: THIS WILL NEED TO BE BASED OFF OF THEIR OWN PERSONAL BUSINESS STORY)
  • Since 2016, we have seen enhanced growth and economic development that we have been able to directly invest back into our company and employees.
  • President Trump’s focus on getting rid of burdensome regulations has allowed us to focus less on government bureaucracy and paperwork, and more on our employees, our customers, and better business solutions.
  • We’re seeing real impact thanks to President Trump’s pro-growth policies.
  • We’ve been able to [for example:] hire more workers, expand our facilities, invest back into employees.
  • [EXPAND ON STORY, TELL ANY TESTIMONIALS]
  • We are happy about the way things are going and think that this county’s economic policies are going in the right direction.
  • (Turn it over to the next participant)

**Note: each participant can use some version of the above, tailored to their own story.”

That ends the email from Cotten.

To me this is insulting to Hudson and to the participants and even more insulting to we the people.

I have no doubt that if it had been Obama, Warren, Biden or any other Washington political group the people would have been told what to say too.

#2

Richard Hudson 2016 Headshot

What did Hudson say? The 8th District Congressman didn’t just parrot what he was told. For the record here is summary of some of Hudson’s comments at the event:

“I’m proud to be here today with the Trump campaign to talk about the economic policies that I’ve worked with President Trump to put in place that have led to tremendous growth in the wages, as well as job growth and a booming economy here in this country and today we are going to hear from some local businesses on the impact these policies have had on their business.

“There’s a lot of information out there about the economy, some say it’s good, some say it’s bad. Let’s hear from people on the ground and let’s see how these policies are affecting them. I’ve been very proud to fight for tax reform, to work with President Trump to enact regulation reform, these policies have really been a huge benefit to real people here in the real world.

“We just hope to get the word out that President Donald Trump with a Republican Congress work together to bring economic prosperity in this country. We’ve seen real wage increases. 90 percent of the jobs out there come from small business, going to hear from small business owners today about the impact.

“(I’m) Proud to stand with President Trump and see him re-elected, and part of that is telling the American citizens the truth about his policies.”

We all know what the problems are – “Them birds up in Washington.” Maybe this time instead of “draining the swamp” somebody should tear down the nests and send some of these bureaucrats, consultants, lobbyists and politicians home and make them earn an honest living like the people on the panel.

#3

In the shadow of a landfill. The outraged neighbors near the new Dollar General on Pitts School Road set off a lot of talk on social media last week. My favorite response was to the comment about not wanting those kinds of people in our neighborhood: You mean doctors, lawyers, nurses, police officers and other hard-working people who shop at Dollar General?

I rode down Pitts School Road after the Concord-Hickory Ridge football game last Friday night to see where this “horrible” business was going. I noticed two things. There seems to be a line of trees between the neighborhood, the school and the Dollar General.

The other thing was the smell. Talk about killing property values – surely that nasty smell from the BFI/Speedway landfill is worse than the Dollar General. Wasn’t the landfill there before those houses were built?

Dollar Tree

A new Dollar Tree is being built on the corner of South Union Street and Arthur Avenue, across from the South Union Shopping Center. Mark Plemmons/Independent Tribune

#4

Hearing no complaints on South Union Street. A new Dollar Tree is under construction on South Union Street at the corner of Arthur Avenue. That’s across the street from the South Union Shopping Center.

Hutton Construction Inc. of Chattanooga, Tennessee is the contractor for the project. The familiar green stripe is going around the top the building and it appears it may be a few weeks before the new discount store opens.

According to the building and planning permits, the building will be 9,984 square feet and cost about $1.3 million to build.

#5

Remember our friends to the east and south. For at least the third year in a row it looks like Eastern North Carolina is going to flooded by a hurricane. Hurricane Dorian was bearing down on the coast as we wrote today’s Friday Five.

Many of the people in the worst hit areas have not fully recovered from Hurricane Florence and Matthew and other storms.

No doubt we will be asked to contribute to relief efforts in the coming weeks and months. I would encourage you to help as you can.

But be careful how you help. AARP, AAA Carolinas, the N.C. Attorney’s Office and the Better Business Bureau have all sent out warnings to consumers to avoid scams.

No doubt vultures will be out there preying on the innocent. I guess not all “them birds” are in Washington.

Wouldn’t you like to take the scam artists and hang them by their toes in the town square? Maybe if they catch some of them, they can make them work; cleaning up the mess the hurricane has left.

If you have a Friday Five, story suggestion or something I can rant about email mplemmons@independenttribune.com.

Friday Five
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